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De Blasio updates New Yorkers on weather, snow removal in the city

Dana Gethers | 2/5/2014, 11:34 a.m.
Snow on 125th Street

As the city tries to recover from the recent snowstorms, meteorologists have predicted another 9-inches of snow between Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, which could potentially cripple much of upstate New York. On Feb.3, Mayor de Blasio gave an update on weather conditions in New York. He remarked on recent controversies pertaining to the effectiveness of the city during snowstorms, especially since several snowstorms have hit since de Blasio took office in January.

After the first in a line of snow storms beginning in late January, residents of the Upper East Side complained of being ignored by the mayor, as relatively wealthy neighborhoods were left unplowed. Some accused the mayor of partiality.

The New York Times quotes one woman who said “Bloomberg isn’t mayor anymore...so I guess the Upper East Side isn’t getting plowed anymore. Maybe [de Blasio] is doing Brooklyn and Queens.”

Following a snowstorm on Feb. 3, complaints poured in from Staten Island residents who were not satisfied with the work of the city during the storm. When asked what he planned to do in response to complaints of numerous car accidents, streets with hospitals that hadn't been plowed, and hazardous streets that would potentially be closed, De Blasio stressed the necessity of clearing primary streets first after a snowstorm.

“The first focus...has to be on primary roads. That is how everyone gets around, especially coming into a morning rush hour. That is how we keep the pathways to our hospitals open and for emergency vehicles,” said de Blasio. “Clearly, in many parts of our city, people are concerned about secondary and tertiary roads. I don't blame them. I just want them to understand that our first use of the equipment is to make sure the main thoroughfares are open in every borough, and then we work from there to go deeper.”

In addition to addressing their concerns, de Blasio commended everyday New Yorkers for ensuring the process moved smoothly during the first few storms and said he hopes they will do the same for the upcoming storms.

“The first storm, New Yorkers did an exemplary job of getting off the streets [at] night. And that really opened up the possibilities for sanitation to get in there immediately...tonight, if people get off the streets, it's going to allow us to rebound from the storm much more effectively, much more quickly,” he said.

He stated at a press conference on Feb. 3 that “there's only so much equipment and so much personnel.”

As the city gears up for a possibly larger storm, and NYC residents are encouraged to stay indoors, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, FLASH, offers up some tips to stay safe and comfortable in case of power outages as a result of the storm. These include “identifying alternative means of transportation and routes to home, school, or work, keeping extra cash on hand, keeping gas tanks full, turning off all lights but one, keeping a supply of flashlights, and refraining from immediately turning on major appliances once power is restored.

While the city readies itself for the next in a line of recent snowstorms de Blasio comments the efficiency of snow removal under his administration and tells New Yorkers what he expects from them.

“So I think what I'd say to the people is, I don't ever expect my fellow New Yorkers to be patient – I don't think that's part of our nature or our character – but I do think people should recognize there is a progression,” said de Blasio.